ESPN has long been the worldwide leader in sports. One guy that was behind that was Howie Schwab. Recently I was able to catch up with the sports information wizard formerly of ESPN and do an interview. Here’s what we talked about. Hope you enjoy!
Mike Patton: Everyone knows that you were big with the stats at your former employer (ESPN), so what got you into stats?
Howie Schwab: I always loved sports as a kid and I was lucky enough to work in that field for 26 years. I used to collect cards as a kid as well. I just loved it.
MP: I remember your show called Stump The Schwab. How was it to do that show?
HS: It was a ton of fun because of all the great people that were involved. And it was truly a game-changer in my career. I was 64-16 on the show and honestly I could have lost 10 more times when people had me on the ropes. Another thing that I liked about the show is it was really good for young people and it taught them some sports. I actually talked to some kids that did not know who Jackie Robinson and Knick great Dave DeBusschere were. And the show allowed them to learn a little more about sports history.
MP: What do you think has changed about sports from when you started to now?
HS: I think the internet and sports radio changed the sports world the most. The nature of sports and how they are talked about have changed because of both. I also think that DirectTV has changed some things because you can tune into games across the country live and not have to miss anything.
MP: Who were some of your favorites at ESPN?
HS: I got along great with everyone but favorites had to be Dick Vitale and Chris Berman. I worked very closely with Dick Vitale while at my former network and I also can remember the days I was in studio with Bob Ley during the beginning of the college basketball studio days. I was close to the late Beano Cook as well. Other people that come to mind are Linda Cohn and Tom Jackson.
MP: Who was someone that you looked up to growing up?
HS: Hank Aaron was someone that I looked up to. He did things the right way. I actually got to meet Hank at the Final Four last year. Me, Dick Vitale, Hank Aaron and Charles Barkley were all talking at the Conan O’Brien show while it was on location in Atlanta for the Final Four. Heard some great stories from Barkley and Aaron. Another person that comes to mind is John McEnroe. He was a competitor and he always played hard and fought for everything.
MP: You attended St. John’s University. Who was big at St. John’s while you were there?
HS: Chris Mullin was a freshman when I was a senior at St. John’s. His work ethic was unquestioned and he was a
great shooter. I actually got to go to the Final Four in 1985 when he was on the team. As far as St. John’s, that university helped me be who I am. That is why I wore the St. John’s jersey on TV.
MP: Family vs work. How did you balance that?
HS: Well, it’s a two-edged sword, but family came first. My wife suffered a stroke and she is the most important person in my life. One of the best things about not being at my former employer (ESPN) is I get to spend more time with my wife.
MP: How has life been after ESPN?
HS: I have my good days and bad days. Some days I second-guess some things. The last few months have been good and bad. I am sorry that I am not a part of the team, but guys get cut in football and sports and move on to play for other teams. And I have to move on as well.
MP: Do you have any advice for anyone trying to enter this business?
HS: Never give up on your dreams. Make sure to always show your passion for what you do. Also care for those that you work with. The more you are good to them, the more others will be good to you.
Many thanks to Howie for the doing this interview with me. Howie is definitely a class individual and I am sure we will hear more from him soon. He definitely will be missed at his former employer and I am sure they miss him as well.
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